Legitimising populist education in Israel: The role of religion

Roi Silberberg, Ayman Agbaria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyses two case studies from the Israeli education system that demonstrate how religious themes and language are used in service of populist politics. First, ‘Being Citizens in Israel’ is the standard high school civics textbook that underwent a major revision in 2015. The second case study focuses on new school programmes that focus on the rebuilding of the Third Jewish temple, and the inclusion of references to the Third Temple in other school subject curricula. Both cases were analysed using Brubaker’s terminology, specifically highlighting elements of majoritarinism, anti-institutionalism and protectionism that are especially relevant to the Israeli case. The majoritarian and protectionist elements are dominant within these cases, and convey a set of transcendental ideals in the name of an imagined collectivity that is conceived as superior, sacred, pure, with a historic mission in a manner that antagonises minorities, liberal sensibilities and democratic principles. The anti-institutionalism element is not explicitly present, yet an implicit contextual presence is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 British Educational Research Association


  • citizenship education
  • judaism
  • populism
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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